- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), Dolby Digital 2.0
- Subtitles: English
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Run Time: 138 Mins.
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Well Go USA
- Blu-ray Release Date: September 4, 2012
- List Price: $29.98
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Director Daniel Lee’s White Vengeance (AKA Hong Men Yan, literally “Hongmen Banquet”) is a sweeping historical epic set during the fall of China’s Qin Dynasty from 221 to 206 BC. It tells the story of the two leaders of the rebel armies, Liu Bang (Leon Lai) and Xiang Yu (Feng Shaofeng), sworn brothers in arms, who would eventually become bitter rivals. Seizing an opportunity to save himself and assert his supremacy over the Qin, King Huai (Zhao Huinan) implemented a scheme to pit the two best friends against each other, by declaring that the first warrior to enter the Qin city of Guanzhong would be named Lord of Guanzhong. As Xiang Yu fought to destroy the reigning lord’s forces, Liu Bang, who was tasked to take Xiang Yu’s bride, the beautiful Yu Ji (Liu Yifei), to safety, instead took her with him directly to Guanzhong and seized the city without a fight. This betrayal set off a bitter battle between the two friends that would culminate in a prolonged series of political maneuvers as each angled for the ultimate power, to become Emperor of China. The penultimate moment would come at a crucial banquet attended by both rivals and their advisers, known as “Hong Men Yan,” or the Hongmen Banquet, which would set off a series of events that would put the two on an irreversible course of bloody conflict.
White Vengeance is one of the better Chinese historical epics I have seen in recent times. It offers up a wonderful mixture of adrenalin filled battle sequences and political intrigue. For a Western outsider like me, especially one who doesn’t claim to be any sort of historian, the accuracy of the facts and circumstances as portrayed in the film are beyond the scope of my understanding. Lee creates something here where you don’t need to be versed in Asian history to enjoy this film.
White Vengeance was shot on the Red One MX cinematographic high definition camera with some special effects work most likely done using the Arriflex 435. The transfer, provided here in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement, is superb. It offers a strong amount of contrast without much blow out or bleaching in the white levels, nuanced shadow details. The textures in the image are strong and three-dimensional while issues with video noise, macroblocking or other anomalies are nonexistent. There are a few scenes that are a bit soft and seem just a little gritty, mostly due to the production rather than the encodement.
Audio, provided in Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), is superb. It offers a wide dynamic range and big low frequencies that really kick up as those massive cavalries get to galloping. The sounds come from all angles and, thankfully, with all the clanking of swords, the high frequencies are easy and relaxed, causing no fatigue.
There’s nothing really obligatory here, but the interviews yield a little bit of worthwhile information.
- Behind the Scenes (1.33:1; SD; 00:54:27) – This is basically just an hour’s worth of B-roll.
- Interviews with Cast and Crew (1.33:1; SD; 00:36:03)
- Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24; DTS-HD Master Audi0 5.1)
- International Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
The Definitive Word
If the lavish costumes and spectacular sets aren’t enough, White Vengeance‘s intense political drama and energetic battle sequences make it a must watch film for fans of Asian cinema.
Additional Screen Captures